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October 22, 2012
Dead or Alive 5 - PS3 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
28/9/2012MindscapeTecmo KoeiTeam Ninja1-22
Media HDD Install Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Dead or Alive 5's visuals are stunning.
Boobs. Tits. Hooters. There's no bypassing the question asking of those gorgeous, bouncy, wobbly, female body parts which have become synonymous with the franchise make a re-appearance in this latest game. The answer is a resounding yes. Despite calls from a vocal minority for this to be toned down the developers realise this is a "feature" of the franchise and taking that away would be altering the franchise. Now that that's out of the way, onto the review...

So Dead or Alive 5 is the first game in the fighting franchise to be developed without series creator Tomonobu Itagaki (who left Tecmo in June 2008), and this is the first time the franchise has hit Sony's main home console since Dead or Alive 2 on the PS2 way back in 2000 - yes, 12 years ago now! Since then the series has been a staple on Microsoft platforms but, ignoring the side-games, it has been almost 7 years since Dead or Alive 4 on XBox 360. So what's this game about then?

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The game has many cut-scenes, in story mode.
In terms of story Dead or Alive 5 is set two years after the destruction of the TriTower, headquarters and symbol of DOATEC... Helena Douglas has begun the task of rebuilding DOATEC, this time with the aim of using its technology for peaceful ends. She has ordered the dissolution of the Biotechnology Division, the indefinite suspension of the Military Division's Projects Alpha, Epsilon and Omega, and the expulsion of all members of the Donovan faction from DOATEC's offices around the world.

Now in the same position once held by her father, DOATEC founder Fame Douglas, Helena has announced that she intends to hold the fifth Dead or Alive tournament, to show the world the principles and philosophies upholding the new DOATEC.

While you may want to dive straight into the Arcade mode, the Story mode is probably the best place to start as the earlier scenes act as a tutorial mode for the game and gets you up to the speed with the game mechanics. The problem with this though is that the story in the game is pretty hit-and-miss with some very average dialogue and situations presented, but wading through that will offer over 70 battles to compete in, many of which allow you to explore new fighting techniques.

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Tagging in a friend in Dead or Alive 5.
Beyond the story mode this game offers multiple modes under the Fight menu including Versus, Arcade, Time Attack, Survival, and Training. Each of these is pretty standard for a fighting game but they do seem a little under developed with abrupt ends (when you reach the end of the Time Attack Mode, you simply replay the last fight or go back to the main menu) while the Arcade mode seems lacking in any form of story or cut-scenes, even when completing the game. A Training Mode is also included, but strangely when we changed our button configuration the Training Mode stayed with the default button setting rather than changing to our new config.

Dead or Alive 5 includes plenty of online options including a Quick Match and Ranked match - each of which allows you to choose local, near or any territory and the number of rounds. These matches and, given good connection speeds, pretty lag free although we also had a couple of matches where lag was more of an issue. More interesting than the individual matches is the inclusion of a Lobby mode where multiple participants take turns in battling the previous match winner or loser (depending on settings). As you await your turn you can text chat to other participants or watch the other match in progress. Our time with Dead or Alive 5 online was very enjoyable indeed, but Australians may want to be aware that, up until this week, no online pass was purchasable online so beware if you're purchasing second hand. We expect this will be remedied quite soon.

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Akira Yuki from Sega's Virtua Fighter is playable.
There are several other extras on this disc (conveniently under the Extras Menu) and include a Spectator Mode which allows you to watch saved replays (we seem to be missing something though as we couldn't find where to save fights) or fights between two AI fighters, Album which allows you to see saved photos (which can only be taken in Spectator mode, and not exported to XMB for copying), Fight Records, Mission which shows all the titles awarded (of which there are 524 in total - some of which require you to fight online 3000 times with each fighter!).

There are plenty of other options for this game including Game Settings (such as camera type, turning on Dirt or Sweat & Water and filters), Control Settings, Screen, Sound, Online, Language and Install, the latter of which allows you to install files to the Hard Drive to reduce loading. This is a pretty well developed game so kudos to Team Ninja for their efforts overall.

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Dead or Alive 5 has stunning character models.
The Dead or Alive franchise has always been a visual tour de force, and Dead or Alive 5 is no exception. While the menus and cut-scenes in the game aren't anything to write home about, the character models and their animation (both in the fights and cut-senes) is simply sublime. The finest details, including the intricate clothing, are superbly realised and up there with any other game on the PS3.

We did have one or two issues with this game visually, but these really are minor niggles. First of all we noticed quite a few clipping issues with fighters or clothing passing through other fighters - however this isn't too noticeable during gameplay, but primarily when you pause the spectator mode, and move the camera around to take a photo. As we mentioned above cut-scenes are a little disappointing, with lip-synching in particular being rather hit and miss - sometimes it doesn't even look like their mouths are moving at all. It's almost like the fighters have been dubbed for the game, rather than being correctly synched and it's off putting. Backgrounds too for some of the cut- scenes are rather plain.

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Wait, what? Pulling the Usain Bolt pose?
Sound is certainly the weakest aspect to this game and in particular the dialogue which is horribly written, and almost as poorly delivered - in particular Helena's French accent is one of the worst we've ever heard. Tecmo really needed to spend more time, and money, on the script, and voice actors, for these cut-scenes to bring them up to the standards of other aspects of this game. Looking beyond the dialogue this game has a decent variety in great sounding music and brutal effects such as punches and parts of the level being smashed up and breaking away.

Dead or Alive 5 could be describe as a button-mashing brawler, but it's visually impressive and despite some flaws, primarily a weak storyline and poor scripting, this a game which fans of the franchise, or those looking for a different brawler besides staples such as Street Fighter or Tekken, would do well to check out. Very enjoyable despite a few shortcomings.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSDOA5 has stunning characters and animation - second to none - but the backgrounds can be bland, and frequent clipping issues.
SOUNDThe weakest aspect of DOA5 is the script and terrible delivery of dialogue. Music and effects are solid enough.
GAMEPLAYMany would say it's more button-mashy then strategic, but there's no doubt it's entertaining.
VALUEWith over 20 fighters, several game modes there's value here, while online gameplay is pretty solid too.
OVERALLDead or Alive 5 is a fantastic title especially for more casual brawler fans. It's visually stunning and well worth checking out.

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